Every year it’s a thankless task.
There are so many deserving candidates for The Eagle-Tribune’s year end sports awards, how do you boil it down to the top handful of athletes, coaches, teams, games and stories?
It’s not easy and there are some great athletes, coaches, teams, games and stories that were nosed out.
But below are the best of the best from 2013.
Male Athlete of the Year
Haverhill’s Noah Vonleh set off a basketball recruiting frenzy
No disrespect to McDonald’s All-American Scott Hazelton from Central Catholic or Raider 7-footer Carson Desrosiers. Or the local trio of third-round draft picks Ethan Philpott of North Andover (Phillips hockey 1993) or Steve Heinze of North Andover (Lawrence Academy hockey 1988) or Jay Yennaco (1995 Pinkerton baseball).
Not even second-team USA Today All-American fullback Rob Konrad of North Andover and St. John’s Prep.
No area athlete has ever been as highly recruited as Noah Vonleh. The New Hampton (N.H.) Prep forward from Haverhill was ranked the No. 7 player nationally in the Class of 2013 by Scout.com, No. 8 by Rivals.com, and No. 13 by ESPN.
The Indiana University freshman, who spent his first two years at Haverhill High, has lived up to the hype. And then some.
He’s played like Noah Vonlottery and could be a one-and-done star headed off to the NBA in June. The recent NBADraft.net mock 2014 draft had him being selected ninth overall.
The multi-talented 6-10, 240-pounder with the size 17 shoe and freakishly big hands and wing span, is racking up double-doubles left and right.
He is averaging 12.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in 22.2 minutes a game. His rebounds per minute is third in the country.
Female Athlete of the Year
Knights’ Coughlin showed girls could compete and even dominate